As part of his crackdown on immigration, sanctuary cities across the country are firmly in President Trump’s crosshairs.
The president has threatened to weaponize federal funding for cities that that refuse to comply with ICE deportation requests. However, many sanctuary cities have refused to lie down and California has begun fighting back with a federal court ruling against the legality of withholding such funding.
But what are sanctuary cities exactly? Where are they and why does the President want to crack down on them?
What are Sanctuary cities?
In the United States, a sanctuary city is a city that limits it’s cooperation with the federal government in order to help illegal immigrants (or undocumented immigrants) avoid deportation by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents. Proponents of sanctuary policies maintain that they actually make cities safer by fostering positive relationships between undocumented immigrants and law enforcement. Thus making them more comfortable in reported a witnessed crime or cooperating with them.
There is no uniform policy and different jurisdictions have varying degrees of pushback, but it may include not inquiring about immigration status, refusing to use local law enforcement resources to detain immigrants, or not complying with Federal laws (8 U.S.C.1373 specifically) that prohibits localities from enacting policy that limits communication with ICE agents about a persons immigration status.
A Full List of Sanctuary Cities in the United States (2017)
Despite the nomenclature, often, sanctuary cities aren’t even cities at all, but entire counties or even entire states. As of May, 2017, there are some 171 jurisdictions that have officially enacted sanctuary policies – the most common of which is refusal to honor ICE detainers without a warrant for the individual’s arrest. Of those 171 jurisdictions, 37 are cities, four are states, the rest are counties.
Number of Sanctuary Jurisdictions by State
Sanctuary Cities in the U.S.
There are 37 official sanctuary cities currently in the U.S. – and the number is growing by the week. These cities have official policies aimed at discouraging full cooperation with federal immigration deportation and detainer requests. There are, however, other cities that are “run like a sanctuary city” but do not have official city policies – Salt Lake City, UT comes to mind. (Conversely, some major cities fall in counties that have adopted sanctuary policies but do not have any of their own).
Los Angeles, CA
San Francisco, CA
Santa Ana, CA
New Haven, CT
Iowa City, IA
New Orleans, LA
St. Paul, MN
San Miguel, NM
New York City, NY
Four states have enacted or are in the process of enacting sanctuary policies at the state level.
California – In April 2017, the California Senate passed Senate Bill 54, a sanctuary state bill that bars state and local law enforcement from using their resources to help federal immigration enforcement.
Connecticut – CT governor Dannel Malloy issued a memo instructing both law enforcement and school officials not to give ICE agents access to schools or jails and refrain from detaining immigrants solely based on immigration status. In addition the Connecticut General Assembly has proposed H.B. No. 6709, an act to make Connecticut a “sanctuary state” for immigrants, regardless of residency status.
New Mexico – In January 2017, New Mexico lawmakers introduced House Bill 116, entitled No Local Enforcement of Federal Immigration Law. The bill aims to prevent local or state resources being used“for the purpose of detecting or apprehending persons whose only violation of law is that they are persons of foreign citizenship who have entered or are residing in the United States in violation of federal immigration laws,” unless otherwise legally required to. Currently, the sponsors of the bill are seeking revisions.
Colorado – In January 2017, House Bill 17-1230 was introduced by Colorado lawmakers. Labeled as “Protect Colorado Residents From Federal Government Overreach”, the would prohibit a state of local agency from assisting in detaining, creating or maintaining a registry, or providing a persons immigration status to the federal government without determining it has a legal or constitutional purpose.
List of Sanctuary Counties in the United States
Contra Costa County
Los Angeles County
San Bernardino County
San Diego County
San Francisco County
San Mateo County
Santa Clara County
Santa Cruz County
San Miguel County
Iowa City, Johnson County
Prince George’s County
New Mexico County Jails
St. Lawrence County
Hood River County
Yamhill CountyPennsylvaniaBradford County
Westmoreland CountyRhode IslandProvidence, Rhode Island
Rhode Island Department of CorrectionsTexas
San Juan County
Walla Walla County
These lists are up to date as of May 2017, an are based on ICE reports of jurisdictions that have enacted policies, referendums, memos or otherwise stated that they will not fully cooperate with ICE detainer requests.